Mail exchange Arun Dohle - Nigel Cantwell - ARTICLE 21B - Independent Panel

17 June 2015

From: Nigel Cantwell []

Sent: Mittwoch, 17. Juni 2015 19:20

To: Arun Dohle

Subject: Re: CRC - Hague


For what it is worth, I have two main concerns with the independent experts' opinion. In necessarily succinct form, they are as follows:

1) While adoption (domestic or intercountry) is not a form of "alternative care", it certainly is intended to be a measure of child protection (in the widest sense of the word). The fact that it is "rather a civil order which creates new relationships with the adoptive family" is irrelevant in terms of the purpose and goals of the measure, which remain protective. Similarly, the fact that many adoptions clearly take place for reasons other than child protection, in particular involving children for whom adoption was not required, simply reflects an abuse of adoption. It does not signify that the aim of the measure itself - as foreseen in the CRC and Hague - has somehow morphed in theory or in principle, but it does mean, of course, that in practice this aim is very frequently not respected. The "opinion" is unclear on this point.

2) I have come to strongly disagree with approaches to child protection issues grounded in "the last resort" mantra, which is taken on board in the "opinion". This mantra reflects a very negative standpoint from which to broach situations where the focus should, on the contrary, be on identifying the most positive solution for any child. It has led to on-going, pointless and sterile "debates" on whether intercountry adoption or residential care (usually misleadingly termed "institutionalisation") should be seen as "the last resort" - and in some quarters even on whether foster care and informal customary caring strategies should be relegated behind adoption. A positive take on applying the subsidiarity principle, on the other hand, seeks to ensure that attention is paid primarily to examining the necessity and suitability of any proposed measure on a case-by-case basis. Obviously one must start by looking at the feasibility of family maintenance or reintegration, kinship care, fostering etc. but in (what should be) exceptional cases where intercountry adoption might be warranted, it would then have to be justified for positive reasons of necessity and suitability rather than, to all intents and purposes, be tantamount to condemning a child to a so-called "last resort" solution.

Best wishes



Nigel Cantwell

120 route de Ferney, CH-1202 GENEVE

+41 22 733 8069 - (mobile) +41 79 706 3833

On 17 June 2015 at 12:33, Arun Dohle wrote:

Dear Nigel Cantwell,

i m still eagerly waiting for your reply.

Especially in the context of the 2015 Hague Special Commission.


Arun Dohle

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Arun Dohle

Date: Sat, Nov 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Subject: CRC - Hague


Dear Nigel Cantwell,

i ve been watching your speech here:

Our paths cross many times. Starting in Romania, India, Vietnam, Africa , etc.

I would like to know your comment reg. the “ Opinion of the independent panel”, as I m working on an article.

It´s available online here.

I also attach it. In particular your comment reg. the “ Summary of the opinion on matters of adoptions”. ( page 6)

Was the independent panel correct? – yes or no?

If no- in which points the findings of the independent panel were wrong?

Thanking for your contribution.

Best regards

Arun Dohle



Arun Dohle